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Proposed constitutional amendment would enact lobbying reforms

A liberal advocacy group has taken an early step to put a proposed amendment to the state constitution on the ballot this year. It place new controls on lobbying state elected officials.

The proposed amendment is lengthy – eight pages. It includes limits on gifts and meals for state elected officials and senior staffers. It would require logs of meetings, phone calls and other communications between lobbyists and lawmakers. Also. a two-year period before a legislator could become a paid lobbyist.

Lonnie Scott with Progress Michigan said an amendment like this is long overdue.

“And really putting power back into the hands of the people and not the high-paid lobbyists in Lansing,” he said. 

“Right now those calling the shots in Lansing are the lobbyists that are often paid by large corporations or really monied interests,” Scott said, “and they are the ones dominating the conversations on what happens in all the legislative chambers.”

Scott said once the petition form is OK’d, the group will start gathering signatures to get the amendment on the ballot.

Rick Pluta is the Capitol Bureau Chief for the Michigan Public Radio Network. He is heard daily on WCMU's Morning Edition and All Things Considered.